Following the end of an eight-week integrated training course for Antigua and Barbuda’s national security officers, one of the organizers has called for the exercise to be an ongoing process.
During the closing ceremony, course coordinator Nigel Emanuel recommended that the integrated training course should be continual for law enforcement officers.
He said the course should be offered for those of different levels and ranks and he expressed his belief that it would be an added fillip to have regional and international experts deliver lectures on specific subject areas in the future.
His comments followed positive reviews by law enforcement officers, government officials and the organizers, all of whom expressed that the results of the training programme had surpassed all their expectations.
Delivering the feature address at the close of the programme, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade, E.P. Chet Greene, said he was pleased that most students were successful at the end-of-course examinations with an average mark of 83 percent.
Minister Greene was particularly pleased that the training module was home-grown and locally designed, instead of being imported from other countries, thereby making the course more relevant to the local environment.
“I am proud that we had a locally-designed programme, a locally-offered programme that is tailor-made to deal with the realities of our own law enforcement issues,” Greene noted.
The minister also congratulated the designers of the programme for using their combined skills to create a training programme that encapsulated the core competences necessary for people in the security fraternity.
Chief Immigration Officer Katrina Yearwood, whose department submitted 30 of the 58 participants, praised the course for providing the platform upon which all future collaborations between the security forces can be built.
“Not only have the participants come away with improved skills that would make them carry out their duties more efficiently, but during the planning stages all the department heads also acknowledged the need for more effective cooperation and coordination between the security services,” Yearwood said on Monday.
She also noted that what she termed ‘the new normal’ was the ‘invaluable’ focus on security forces sharing information and working for the common goal of protecting the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
For his part, Deputy Comptroller of Customs Austin Greenaway said the course proved that the days when individual security forces operated in isolation were at an end.
He added that the view among some that each department is an entity unto itself when performing its duties must also be discarded.
“This integrated training course tells me that we are moving ahead as one. The people who are out there breaking the law with their various scams have been watching a divided security apparatus, but, following this course, those days are no more,” Greenaway declared.
Also speaking during the closing exercise was Deputy Commissioner of Police Everton Jeffers, who highlighted the fact that the course focused on standardization of procedures among the security forces. “This training has now put all of the bodies here at a place that, should something happen, all the participants would be able to come together and operate with relative ease,” Jeffers stated.